Hundreds take advantage of COVID vaccine drive-thru in Belleville


BELLEVILLE, Ill. – Hundreds of people lined up in Belleville Tuesday to get their COVID booster shots. 

Outside the Belle-Clair Fairgrounds, a mass vaccination clinic was giving out Pfizer booster shots for those 65 and older, and other eligible individuals who received their second dose six months ago. People also could get their first vaccine shots there as well. 

At least 50 cars were lined up before the gates opened. The clinic was set up to handle about five hundred cars a day, giving free shots to drivers and passengers.

“I am a believer, I am. I know quite a few people that have had COVID, so I don’t want to have it,” O’Fallon, Illinois resident Gwen Patterson said. “I don’t want to get it, so I think everybody should get the shot.

The St. Clair County Health Department and Emergency Management Agency are hosting the mass vaccination clinic.   

“We encourage you to go on the St. Clair County website and make an appointment, but if you’re just out on a beautiful day like this, and say, ‘Hey I want to get my booster so, or ‘I want to get that first-time dose,’ you can come in and they’ll register you here, and you can get it all done,” said Herb Simmons director of the St. Clair County Emergency Management Agency. 

County health department nurses and contract nurses are administering the vaccine. It’s about a 10-minute process, plus a waiting period of 15-30 minutes to make sure the recipients have no negative side effects. 

Paul Schroeder of Marissa, Illinois, got the vaccine.

“I believe in it. I want to get it. I was old enough when we did the polio and all that other stuff, so I believe in it.” 

Health officials say the best way to stop the spread of the dangerous Delta variant of the virus is to get vaccinated. 

“Unless you’ve experienced somebody that you know that’s really been sick with this virus, or somebody who has passed away, you realize how serious this thing can be,” Simmons said.

“I’ve lost 13 friends to this thing and it didn’t take me long to get convinced that this is what we have to do.”

The mass vaccination clinic at Bell-Clair Fairgrounds is open from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays for the next several weeks. 

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